The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with roster selections.
We are now halfway through the playoffs. Last week Rory came from way back in the final round to overtake a fading Paul Casey. The Northern Irishman corrected what had a been a terrible recent run with his putter and a terrible start to his week as well. With the win, Rory now has a real shot at finishing as the top player in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and taking home the $10 million dollar first place playoff prize. This week we are headed out to Indiana for the BMW Championship.
This week, the field has been pared down again, as only the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup Playoffs have advanced. Notable players who WILL NOT be playing this week include Webb Simpson, Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk. Since there are only a max of 70 players in this field, there will be no cut to worry about this weekend, and all players will get in four rounds of play (barring a DQ or withdraw). After this event, the top 30 players in the FedEx cup standings will be allowed to tee it up one more time in two weeks at East Lake for the Tour Championship and a chance at some serious cash.
Crooked Stick Golf Club—Carmel Indiana
Crooked Stick is a Pete Dye designed course that last hosted this event back in 2012. That year saw Rory McIlroy win the event at -20, winning by two shots over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood. This is a long golf course and the fact we see the top of the 2012 leaderboard littered with big hitters isn’t a coincidence. Crooked Stick is also a par 72 and contains four par 5’s, three of which are extremely easy holes and will play at 560 or yards or less for the week (the other one is a monster at well over 600 yards). These holes will be extremely important for the week. In 2012 six of the top seven players at this event ranked 15th or better in par 5 scoring for the year.
As for the rest of the course, it features ten par 4’s, with seven that range between 440 yards and 490 yards in length. While some of these holes will no doubt play tough, in 2012 players were able to use driver off the tee on most holes due to the more open nature of the fairways and lack of penal rough. A lot will depend on the conditions this year, but if they are similar to 2012 we should see a lot of birdies again.
Last 5 winners
- 2015—Jason Day -22 (over Daniel Berger -16)
- 2014—Billy Horschel -14 (over Bubba Watson -12)
- 2013—Zach Johnson -16 (over Nick Watney -14)
- 2012—Rory McIlroy -20 (over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood -18)
- 2011—Justin Rose -13 (over John Senden -11)
- The Past 6 winners of the BMW Championship have all had at least one top 6 within their last three starts on tour.
- None of the past 6 winners of the BMW Championship had missed the cut in their previous start on tour.
Par 5 Scoring
Approach Proximity 175-200, and >200 yards
This week the advantage definitely switches to the longer hitters as we get a relatively long golf course that also carries with it three very reachable par 5’s, and a drivable par 4 for the longer hitters. As we saw back in 2012 the leaderboard was absolutely littered with players who killed it off the tee as six of the seven top players from this event ranked 32nd or higher in driving distance for the year. This sort of leaderboard trend can also lead us to look at par 5 scoring for the week as well. In 2012, six of the seven top players also ranked inside the top 15 on the year in par 5 scoring, leading us to show how important both distance off the tee and par 5 scoring stats could be this week (and also how the two correlate).
One last statistical category to ponder this week is approach proximity. With the course stretching outwards of 7500 yards, the players will be forced to rely more on their longer iron game and looking at categories here from 175+ yards out looks fruitful. There are numerous longer par 4’s on the course and the bigger hitters won’t have much more than 200 yards left to the green on the short par 5’s as well. Four of the top seven finishers from 2012 ranked inside the top ten in approaches from beyond 200 yards.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Paul Casey||40-1||$8,300||Gary Woodland $8,400 and 50-1
Bubba Watson $8,600 and 45-1
Emiliano Grillo $8,500 and 50-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
**Since this event is played at a rotation of courses we’ll be looking at how players have performed at this event overall since our sample at this course is too small to be relied on.
Rickie Fowler didn’t have a great first few years in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but in recent years he’s really taken to this format as he’s now posted back to back T4’s at this event. Look for him to rebound from a poor Deutsche Bank Championship.
Rory McIlroy has a win, a T4 and a T8 at this event over the last five years. It’s also encouraging for his prospects this week that he won this event back in 2012 when it was played at Crooked Stick, this week’s venue.
Zach Johnson has always been a strong playoff performer and this event has often been his best. Johnson has a win at the BMW from back in 2013 and also a T13 and T12 to his ledger here. While he hasn’t done much recently, Johnson is shaping up like an interesting play this week.
The salaries are fairly tight this week which presents an interesting problem as Rory McIlroy is looking like a must play but also carries with him the largest salary of the week. Since it’s a no cut event using McIlroy carries with it less risk than usual, and he’s a player I’d recommend rostering in all formats, but you will have to pick and choose the correct lower priced plays to pair with him for success in big tournaments. Either way, if you’re looking for a contrarian lineup this week, stacking a lot of the cheaper elite plays is a good way to ensure you’re different, as I expect Rory to be heavily owned.
Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks
- Patrick Reed
- Rory McIlroy
- Adam Scott
Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks
- Brian Harman
- Sean O’Hair
- Kevin Chappell
MY PICK: Louis Oosthuizen ($9,300)
While it’s quite possible the McIlroy train has taken off and won’t stop until he wins the last two events of the year, one player I expect to challenge Rory this week is Louis Oosthuizen. Oosthuizen has had an up and down season marred generally by some bad putting. Like Rory, however, Oosthuizen has started to turn a corner in that regard the last couple times out and was actually ranked 5th in Strokes Gained: Putting two weeks ago at the Barclays. After a nice ball striking week last week, Louis again improved his finishing position at the DBC as he was T8 for the week. Oosthuzien finished T16 here back in 2012 but was on track for a better finish until a poor final round. I think he can do better this week and like him to challenge Rory for the win.
MY SLEEPER: Sean O’Hair ($6,900)
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
There isn’t a whole lot to choose from under 7k this week given the reduced field, but I have no problem getting back on Sean O’Hair again. After a great Barclays, O’Hair struggled a tad at TPC Boston, and while he sits 20th in the FedEx cup race now, he’ll need a better week here to get himself to East Lake for the finals. O’Hair has a decent record at Pete Dye courses, including a 6th at Hilton Head, and a T12 at TPC Louisiana in 2015. On a course where distance off the tee is definitely a factor this week, O’Hair could really prosper as he’s one of the bigger hitters on tour and ranks 23rd in total driving distance for the season. At $6900 he’s who I would look to under $7k if you need a player to pair with your Rory or Day lineups.
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